The phrase “New Year, New You” seems to be a popular one as we begin to fill in the empty spaces on our fresh, crisp calendars in preparation for the brand new year that lies ahead.
We make lists of goals we hope to conquer, goals that we believe will propel us towards the best version of ourselves. Goals that we think, if reached, will earn us that shiny “new you” badge.
Maybe it’s weight loss or dietary changes. Maybe it’s starting school or finishing school. Maybe it’s a career change or job promotion. Maybe it’s more family time or more “me time.” Maybe it’s greater financial stability or obtaining certain material belongings. Maybe it’s status or some envied position in life.
It’s easy to think that accomplishments will change us for the better. And oftentimes they do.
But we forget that our best selves are sometimes born out of our worst experiences.
The new, better you doesn’t always look like someone who is climbing the corporate ladder, or buying a smaller pair of jeans, or boasting a 4.0 GPA, or growing a significant nest egg. The “new you” doesn’t always come into existence by reaching certain goals or maintaining a certain standard of life. And “new you” status doesn’t always occur when life feels like it’s at its best.
Sometimes the “new you” is a result of circumstances you never saw coming. Circumstances that brought you to your knees. Circumstances that broke your heart. Circumstances that caused your entire life to crumble right before your eyes.
Sometimes it’s heartache that earns you the “new you” label.
Sometimes it’s failure.
Sometimes it’s grief.
Sometimes it’s pain.
Sometimes it’s the loss of a child, a spouse, a job, or a home that begins the path to a new, better you.
We are made new when we are at our weakest and are forced to rely on God alone. We are made new when troubles makes our hearts softer, more compassionate. We are made new when achievement and accomplishment slip through our fingers and the only thing we can claim is a God who has claimed us. We are made new when we lose the ones we love and yet we keep going – because they can’t.
We are made new in the struggle. It’s where we learn to trust, where we find strength and where we persevere.
The sky may be the limit in this new year, but the “new you” might just be made in the dirt.